Indianapolis gunman never appeared before judge despite ‘red flag’ law

The 19-year-old man who allegedly shot dead eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis last week never appeared before a judge for a hearing under a state “red flag” law which was invoked after his mother called police to say her son might commit “suicide by cop”, a prosecutor said on Monday.

The Marion county prosecutor, Ryan Mears, said authorities believed they had done what they needed to do by seizing a pump-action shotgun from Brandon Scott Hole in March 2020.

“Absolutely there needs to be some intervention and absolutely the firearm needs to be taken away,” Mears said. “But the risk is if we move forward with that [red flag] process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person.

“That’s not something we were willing to do.”

Indianapolis police have said Hole legally bought what they said were assault rifles used in the attack last Thursday. The police did not reveal where he bought them, citing the ongoing investigation.

On Monday, Mears said he thought “this case illustrates the limitations” of the state “red flag” law.

In 2005, Indiana was one of the first states to enact such a law, after an Indianapolis police officer was killed by a man whose weapons were returned despite his hospitalization months earlier for an emergency mental health evaluation.

The legislation allows police or courts to seize guns from people who show warning signs of violence. It is intended to prevent people from purchasing or possessing a firearm if they are found by a judge to present “an imminent risk” to themselves or others.

Authorities have two weeks after seizing someone’s weapon to argue in court that the person should not be allowed to possess a gun.

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